Author Archive - Kristi

About Kristi:

Hi! I'm a senior of the rare female EE species. I'm especially interested in campus events, high tech, and Stanford traditions. In my spare time, I enjoy swing dancing, attempting to fling plastic discs in desired directions, and walking backwards while talking loudly to strangers.

Finals week… Miley Cyrus style

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

A Stanford adaptation of Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop.”  This post brought to you by sleep deprivation, excess caffeine, and the letter S.  It’s way more fun if you sing along using Bastille’s British accent version.

http://thatssostanford.tumblr.com/post/19613206572/photo-michael-white-12-samraadeni-damn

Goin’ hard at Green. Photo credit: Michael White, ’12.

It’s our finals we can eat what we want
It’s our finals we can sleep when we want
It’s our Dead Week we can scream when we want
We can cram what we want
We can sing what we want

Flashcards and study buddies everywhere
Wearin’ sweats to class like we don’t care
‘Cause we came to get some work done now
Turn up the beast mode, suppress all the fun now

If you’re not ready to go home
Can I get a “Hell, no!”? (Hell no)
‘Cause we’re gonna cram all night
‘Til we see the sunlight, alright

So la da di da di
We like to study
Holing up in Green
Coding ‘til we see the sun
This is our life
This is our school

And we can’t stop
Cause we can’t drop [any classes since we’re past the add/drop deadline]
Can’t you see it’s we who own the night?
Runnin’ practice problems ‘til we get ‘em right?

It's our finals, we can sleep when we want.

It’s our finals, we can sleep when we want.

And we can’t stop
And we won’t stop
We Honor Code ‘cause we classy
Don’t steal answers from nobody
Yeah, yeah

It’s our finals we can eat what we want
It’s our finals we can sleep when we want
It’s our Dead Week we can scream when we want
We can cram what we want
We can sing what we want

To my home girls here with the big books
Tryna get good jobs and the big bucks
Never let the slackers judge ya
Forget the haters ’cause you’ll get an A-plus

(more…)

Breakdown Quarter: You’re Not Alone

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013
Spring Quarter, as illustrated by Hyperbole and a Half

Spring Quarter, as illustrated by Hyperbole and a Half

This morning I tried to take a sip of my room key while attempting to open my door with an iced mocha.  Sleep deprivation has seized another victim.  Wasn’t this supposed to be an easy quarter?

Spring quarter is powerfully portrayed in the Stanford mental mythology as a time of never-ending frolicking.  Admit Weekend and NSO make it particularly compelling.  Life at Stanford is an endless series of fountain-hopping and suntanning, right?

But spring quarter rolls around and shatters that illusion.  Spring break wasn’t long enough, the 9.5 week quarter is a tease, and your professors interpret “Dead Day” to mean “perfect day to schedule all your final presentations.”

Sigh.  It’s enough to make you wanna pull a John Mayer and grow your hair out and wear silly hats.

Stop this train – I want to get off and go home again
I can’t take the speed it’s moving in
I know I can’t
But honestly won’t someone stop this train?

It doesn’t help that we’re a bunch of overachievers.  Admitting to stress or a sense of inadequacy is too often equated to failure, and we bottle it up, rather than discussing it constructively with our peers.  We become victims of our own perfectionism.  You don’t want to be the first one on the dance floor when it comes to expressing vulnerabilities.

Kudos goes to the outreach programs of recent months and years.  Rubber ducky in the Claw people“talk to me about anything” people, and the Bridge Peer Counseling: I salute you.  But there aren’t enough of you.  The more we discuss this problem, the more people will feel motivated to do something about their stress.

So here’s the good news: if you’re stressed, you’re not alone.  When we’re honest about it, we’re all a bunch of Stanford ducks, paddling ferociously.

The great news?  You can do this.  You’ve done it before, you’ll do it again, and if you open up to your friends about how you’re feeling, you’ll find a vast network of cheerleaders rooting for you.  They love you, they care about you, and whether or not you do, they believe in you.  To quote famed Greek philosopher Zacharius Efronicus:  “we’re all in this together.”

By next Wednesday, you’ll be this guy:

notdead

Go rock those finals, Stanford.  You got this.

Shame on you, Nicholas Thompson.

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

This article is a response to an article on the New Yorker website.  The ideas expressed here are the opinions of the author alone, not an official opinion of the University or this publication.

Dear Mr. Thompson,

This morning you published an article entitled, “The End of Stanford?”  It is one of the most sensationalist and unsubstantiated pieces of journalism I have ever read.

“Anyone can create, edit or contribute to any page.”

You are misinformed about the Stanford of today, but you didn’t make an effort to learn more about it.  Of your 14 hyperlinks, 9 of them referenced articles from your own website.  The only reference to the stanford.edu domain was that of Synergy’s website, which publicly displays the password for its own wiki page.  See the screenshot from Synergy’s webpage at right.

You may not have done your research, but I have, and I would like to clarify some of your points.

We are no mere tech incubator.  Stanford University is ranked #1 in the world for its arts and humanities programs.  85% of our undergraduates as of the last academic year are in non-engineering majors.  Our political science, psychology, economics, English, history, and sociology graduate schools all rank in the top 5 in the nation.  Our business school is #1.  Our law school is #2.  Education is #5.

“It is for you to know all, it is for you to dare all.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m no zealot for the start-up culture myself, but it must be contextualized to be understood.  At a school with 6,999 undergraduates and  8,871 graduate students, 12 students dropping out to form a company is hardly statistically significant.  While you may not approve of Stanford’s start-up culture, I dare you to deny its efficacy:  companies formed by Stanford alumni create $2.7 trillion in revenue annually and have created 5.4 million jobs.  We have the world’s 10th largest economy.

In your article, you ask, “Shouldn’t [a great university] be a place to drift, to think, to read, to meet new people, and to work at whatever inspires you?”  We wholeheartedly agree, and this is exactly what our curriculum seeks to do.  This is why our new, introductory course sequence (mandatory for all students) is called Thinking Matters.

I’m mostly puzzled by your article because I don’t understand your motivation.  You’re a Stanford graduate.  Why are you taking such inaccurate hits at your alma mater?  To take us down a notch?  It seems like your deliberately controversial article is just a ploy for page-views.

I invite you to visit Stanford as it is today.  Heck, I’ll give you a tour.  Join me in seeing Stanford not as we appear to the uninformed eye, but to those who engage in its true academic culture.

I promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Kristi Bohl, Stanford ’13

Lean In: Sheryl Sandberg Speaks at Stanford

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

“We need to get women to start out aiming big and staying in.”

One of the most daunting aspects of being a female in the technical fields is the dearth of female role models.

Growing up at my elementary school, I dreaded the inevitable biography book report.  I always got Marie Curie.  No slight to Madame Curie, but I couldn’t help but shudder to think that the only techy female role model my teachers could dig up for me died 80 years ago.  Painfully.  Of radiation poisoning.  The prospects seemed bleak for a ten-year-old girl who liked science.

Leading Ladies of Tech

Enter Sheryl Sandberg.  The Chief Operating Officer at Facebook and former vice president of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google, Sandberg is one of the most influential women in the world.  She and a new generation of women leaders in tech – like Yahoo!’s Marissa Mayer (Stanford B.S. in SymSys) – have shown young women everywhere that female leadership is no mere possibility, but also a necessity for an egalitarian society.

Sandberg’s credentials make her a prime role model and spokesperson for the modern feminist movement.  Her modest autobiographical Twitter bio of “mother of 2, wife of awesome guy, friend to many great women” belies her professional accomplishments and impact.  After graduating summa cum laude from Harvard and receiving her MBA from Harvard Business School, she worked with the World Bank and served as Chief of Staff for the U.S. Treasury during the Clinton years.  She’s now #10 on Forbes’ list of the world’s most powerful women.

Sandberg only recently tackled issues of gender in leadership, but has done so with gusto.  Her famous TED Talk “Why we have too few women leaders” has over 2 million views, and her new book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead has been translated into 24 languages.

The Bad News

Sandberg opened the talk with a sobering description of the state of women in modern leadership.

The blunt truth is that men still run the world.  Unequivocally, no question about it.”

(more…)

We wish you a nerdy St. Patrick’s Day!

Saturday, March 16th, 2013

Trying to get in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day while studying for finals?  Sigh – you’re not alone.

But if you want a catchy study tune to keep you in the mood, check out this witty ditty, care of Stanford biology alum Adam Cole, B.S. ’09, M.S. ’10.  You’ll probably learn a lot – let’s hear it for Sacchyromyces cerevisiae!

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

Blessed are the geeks…

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Just don’t get them started about the Claw.

I’m not sure exactly why, but Stanford has an unspoken stigma against asking questions in class.  Ask too many questions and you become “that guy.”  Pipe up and the entire class turns to you like the creepy, synchronized, green alien dudes in Toy Story.  Once the professor starts calling you by name it’s game over.

I’ve always been confused why question-asking feels so taboo in a school so obsessed with intellectual vitality.  Are we willing to compromise our understanding for the sake of looking like we have our act together?  Is it really so bad to admit weakness?  Are we too timid to risk humiliation at the hands of a Nobel laureate, or to face Socratic-style evisceration in a Law School seminar?  (OK, that’s a fair point.)

I’m no exception to this rule, and throughout my time here, asking questions in large lectures has always brought up my pulse and threatened to jumble my words to the point of incoherence.  (Pro tip: asking questions should actually be less scary in large lectures, because fewer people know who you are!)  Better to risk looking like a fool in class than to have it incontrovertibly proven in the final, right?  What have we got to lose?

I want to take this opportunity to thank the question-askers.  You guys rock.  Ever notice the rumble of shuffling paper right after you ask a question?  Yeah, that’s because everyone else had the same question, they were dying for someone to ask it, and they’re now frantically taking notes.  Ever seen the masses turn to you with widened eyes?  Yeah, that’s the look of a hundred students trying to convey “thank you” via ESP.  You keep us from keeling over every time the prof skips the proof or dismisses the big step as “obvious.”  You, sir or madam, are insistent, attentive, and on your game.  In a phrase: you go, Glen Coco.

As we round the bend to finals, never forget that asking questions is a very good thing.  Stay curious, my friends.

Open meeting to discuss Registrar’s proposed changes

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

In case you haven’t heard, the Registrar has proposed moving popular Stanford classes to 8:30 a.m. and disallowing students from taking overlapping classes.  If you’re passionate about this issue, the VPUE is giving you an opportunity to provide input.

Academic Affairs has scheduled a meeting with Vice Provost Harry Elam TODAY at 5:45 PM in the ASSU offices in Old Union.  All interested students are welcome to attend.  Be sure to arrive on time.

The ASSU Senate petition against the changes can be found here.

Descent of the Parental Units

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Excellent PhotoShopping? Really awkward memories? The world may never know.

Parents Weekend 2013 is upon us, and you know what that means… free food!

No, I kid, I kid*, it means that your parents may well be on campus, and if so they’ll be REALLY excited to see you, spend time with you, talk to you, hug you, dote on you, and otherwise keep you really, really busy… right in the midst of midterm season.  The timing, in a word, is inopportune.  Every year I gently remind my parents of how busy I am because I’m trying to make the most of my education.  Every year they not-so-gently remind me that they’re paying for that education.  Touché, parents.  Touché.

In the interest of keeping your parents happy while you keep your academic head above water, here’s a brief guide to parent-friendly resources and activities.

Stanford it up.

The Parents Weekend coordinators have put together a truly wondrous array of opportunities for your progenitors.  If you remember nothing else from this post

SHOW THEM THIS LINK.

There are classes, receptions, tours, and fairs galore.  The whole calendar can be found here.

Don’t let your dad be that guy.

Teach ‘em the lingo.

Stanford acronyms are really confusing to the uninitiated.  Help a brother… er, mother out and clarify the quirky verbiage that might otherwise lead them astray:

Go off the beaten path

Here are some quirky ideas for the parents who’ve been there, done that, and want to try something new on their 2nd, 3rd, …, nth Parents Weekend:

  • Cantor Arts Museum is one of the most underrated locations on campus, and The Thinker’s back!
  • Your hipster parents visited Hoover Tower before it was cool?  No worries!  If they’re active, a nice alternative (with breathtaking views) is the Dish walk.  It takes about 1.5 hours to walk, so can be a nice breather (literally) between classroom-based activities.
  • Sit in on an off-beat class.  There are lots of classes just for parents today, but Explore Courses has thousands.  One thing my parents like doing is visiting classes for what they majored in in college.  Also, courses like Psych 1 and CS 106A are both crowd-pleasers, and they’re both offered on Fridays!
  • Make sure they don’t miss Memorial Church.  A lot of my friends still haven’t gone, and it’s by far my favorite spot on campus.
  • Original student artwork is being showcased in the Cummings Art Building right now!  Check it out to support our budding artists.

*But seriously, work that free food angle.

Don’t make your parents fend for themselves while you’re in class.  Refer them to this list of on-campus eateries, or the full plethora of Stanford Dining’s offerings here.

When you’ve finally beasted the last midterm of the week, take advantage of Palo Alto’s diverse culinary fare!  Mom and Dad are lookin’ to treat (probably even your friends, so that they can start those criminal background checks), and there are lots of offerings.

I hope this is helpful, and happy Parents Weekend, everyone!

Alors on danse….

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

“Don’t be fancy, just get dancey.” (P!nk)
Or do both, at this year’s Viennese Ball!

I’m not sure what it is about February that makes campus so antsy.  The weather is a mercurial mix of rainy and beautiful, the absence of football season gives us no justifiable reason to scream loudly once a weekend, and the looming, candy-coated spectre of Valentine’s Day reminds us all too well of our romantic frustrations.  My normal approach is useless here.

But whether it’s midterms, project classes ramping up, or The Man that’s gettin’ you down, there’s no reason too small not to shake it out.  As the Daily editors remind you of the importance of free speech on campus, I implore you to heed the words of V from V for Vendetta that

a revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having”

It’s times like these that make a student body want to shake its collective groove thang.  Good thing the slew of upcoming events on campus is perfectly suited to fulfill that need.

Lunar New Year Festival – Saturday, February 9, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., White Plaza

  • The Stanford Vietnamese Student Association is pulling together your favorite student performance groups to celebrate the New Year in style.  Watch, dance, and chow down while appreciating our talented fellow students.

It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.

Stanford Dance Marathon – Saturday, February 9 – Sunday, February 10

  • The infamous annual event unites students from across campus in the common goal of fighting AIDS.  And occasionally in the conga line.
  • Whether you’re stickin’ it out for all 24 hours, boosting the energy as a moraler, or swinging by for some much-needed stress detox, enjoyment abounds in the form of glowsticks, pillowfights, sunrise yoga, and guest performances and dance lessons from dance groups on campus.   The best all-nighter you’ve ever spent.

Austria Fortnight – various events, February 9 – 20

  • The annual Viennese Ball is preceded by two weeks of free dance lessons throughout campus.  Whether you’re starting from square one, brushing off your polished moves, or unabashedly seeking a last-minute valentine, these low-key practice sessions are a great way to meet new friends and get the wiggles out.
  • No, not those Wiggles.  We like them.

Viennese Ball – Friday, February 22, 8 p.m. – 2 a.m., Palace Hotel SF

  • Perhaps Stanford’s classiest affair of the year, Viennese Ball has brought classical dance and live music to Stanford students since 1978.  In its current form, Viennese features a choreographed waltz opening, tasty hor d’oeuvres, a fun photo booth, and swing and waltz rooms with live bands into the wee hours of the morning.
  • Whether you’re a social dance pro or just learning, it’s a great way to meet new people, have fun with a partner, and enjoy live music in a luxurious setting.  Ticket sales open next week.

Whether you’re stressed, chill, or looking for a few hours to kill, consider joining Stanford’s rich culture of dance this winter quarter. Heck, even former Stanford football coach Jim Harbaugh is gettin’ his groove on.

Alors on danse.

Well, I guess this is growing up.

Monday, January 21st, 2013

xkcd pretty much reads my mind

The transition to adulthood is not a graceful one.

I recently turned twenty-two, and I realized I’ve outlived all of the “fun” birthdays.  To my fourth grade self, twenty-two years was an unfathomably long time.  So unfathomable, in fact, that I didn’t bother to keep going past 21 on my “life prediction” timeline for fourth grade English.  I beat my own estimate!  So I got that going for me, which is nice.

I guess the main thing that weirds me out about this age is the loaded expectation everyone seems to have for seniors of knowing what they want.  What they’re “doing.”  To me it’s almost comical.  For four years we’ve been encouraged to find and pursue myriad new passions in an intellectual powerhouse.  I followed the call with gusto, developed enthusiasm for obscure historical epochs, thoroughly embarrassed myself in broken German (you’ll wanna click that link), and fell in love, again and again, with the beauty and complexity of technology, from the fickle whims of the electron to the subtle elegance of synchronization variables.

And now you want me to choose.   (more…)

Hey, punk, get a job!!

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

This teacher must be such a n00b.

Despite the antagonistic title, this post is intended to help give Stanford students – especially frosh and sophs – a leg up on finding positions this summer.

You may wonder why I think I can help.  Allow me to rewind to the Kristi of 2009.

In fall 2009, when I entered Stanford, I was not just a n00b.  I was the n00biest of n00bs.  The Grand Poobah of n00bs.  You see, two weeks into my Stanford career, I strutted into Stanford’s Computer Forum Fair with my CV.  And oh, what a CV it was.

Freshman Kristi believed that “MOAR information is ALWAYS better!”, so my whopping six-page CV included every accomplishment ever in my entire life leading chronologically backwards to the “progress card” comments from my early childhood development center.  Which is just a fancy way of saying “preschool.”  Looking back now, it’s pretty comical, but at the time I naively thought, “awww yeah, everybody’s gonna wanna get a piece of this ‘good listener’ who ‘likes to share’!  Get at me, Google!”

Needless to say, I showed up first at the HP booth, where the well-intentioned rep kindly suppressed giggles long enough to provide some editing advice.  I pedaled forlornly back to Stern, trying to keep the metaphorical tail between my legs from getting caught in my bike chain.

Young padawans, I’ve been there and done that so you never have to.  Below I’ve listed my top tips for finding the job that works for you this summer.  I don’t claim to know nearly everything, though, so fellow old-timers are welcome to supplement my advice in the comments!  :)  Hopefully this is a good starting place.  Happy exploring!

Lists are also just generally a good way to keep up with campus events!

Get on lists!

Student groups and departments alike have email lists galore which are a goldmine of opportunities.  The best places to look are minority or special interest groups that are specific to you, like SWE, the Women’s Community CenterSSCLES, the Native American Cultural Center, and SBSE, which often have specific recruitment lists that you can sign up for.  (Forgive me if my examples tend towards techy offerings – it’s what I’m most familiar with!)

Undecided between different departments?  That’s totally fine!  In fact, it might be even better: the more lists you sign up for, the more chances you’ll have at finding your dream summer job.  Not too shabby. (more…)

Aw, Cal, you’re making me flush.

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Not to be outdone by Stanford’s recent web logo update, the University of California published a new logo this week.

Thoughts?

Badasses of Stanford: Derek Ouyang and Stanford Solar Decathlon

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

Initial concept renderings of Stanford Solar Decathlon’s practical yet beautiful Start.Home design.

This week we caught up with Derek Ouyang, ’13, Project Manager of Stanford’s first Solar Decathlon team.

How would you summarize Solar Decathlon in a sentence?

Solar Decathlon is an international competition to design the home of the future, and Stanford is going to win.

Who or what inspired you to start a Solar Decathlon team at Stanford?

Taylor Brady (’13) came up with the idea of putting together a Stanford proposal to compete last Spring. It didn’t make sense to us that Stanford has never competed in such an awesome competition. We submitted last November and received word from the U.S. Department of Energy this past January that we were one of 20 international teams selected to compete next October in Irvine, CA.

What kind of faculty / departmental support do you have?  Where could you use more support?

We have support from almost every department in the School of Engineering and committed faculty advisors as well. We recently got the d.school on board in a major way, helping us move from an engineering design approach to a more human-centered approach. We are starting to get support from the Communications Department and Graduate Business School to help us with marketing and sponsorship, and could definitely use more talented students from these areas.

From a big picture perspective, what do you consider the greatest potential impact of a project like Solar Decathlon?  

From the very beginning we knew that we didn’t want to create a cool showcase house just for the competition — we wanted to use this incredible opportunity to showcase a real industry-changing idea on an international stage. Our idea, called Start.Home, is a new kind of sustainable home module which can be mass-manufactured on an industrial scale and shipped all around the country to build the next generation of net-zero homes. We hope it’s an inspiration to industry, and already some of our supporters want us to build additional core modules for them — who knows, maybe it will become a business sooner than we think!

“Sustainability at the push of a button” – preliminary construction of a building core.

What has been the biggest challenge to the project so far?

Having 100+ people excited about the project is both a blessing and a curse — I spend nearly 40 hours a week just managing our huge team of at least a dozen subteams. But the point of this group is not to be exclusive — it’s really to reach out to our school and engage as many people as possible in sustainability education and an incredible hands-on design project. I just wish sometimes that we didn’t have to go to so many classes on the side.

What has most surprised you about the process?

I’ve been surprised by how much support we’ve gotten from various groups at Stanford and beyond. Sustainable Stanford, VPUE, and the Precourt Institute of Energy are major donors for our project. We were able to get a temporary construction site right by the Terman fountain from March to September of next year from Stanford, and two schools are looking to sponsor the home post-competition. Intel and Bosch are big corporate sponsors, and alumni have been incredibly supportive through donations and networking. We always thought that the idea of students building a net-zero home would interest the community, but we never expected this much feedback and energy. We can’t wait to see what happens once we finally break ground on campus in March! (more…)

CodeHS teaches tech-savvy to teenagers

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Code the change you want to see in the world.

You may know them best for hilarious satire and Segway shenanigans, but when it comes to promoting computer science, former Flipside funnymen Jeremy Keeshin and Zach Galant take things very seriously.

The two recent Stanford graduates (both Computer Science ’12) just founded an ambitious website called CodeHS, a site designed to teach computer science to high schoolers.  Piggybacking on a growing trend in online course content (see Coursera and the Khan Academy), CodeHS takes advantage of the online medium to maximize the potential audience for their product, and for good reason.

According to Jeremy, former head TA of the popular CS 106A program, “almost no high schools in the country offer CS, but computer science education is critical for the jobs of the future.  Everyone gets stuck when learning to program, and the focus of CodeHS is providing help from real people along the way.”

We wouldn’t let students graduate high school without learning how to read and write.

We shouldn’t let them graduate without learning how to code.”  - CSinHS mission statement

Co-founder Zach sees it as a pragmatic concern.  “We are trying to create a lot of buzz around the idea that coding needs to be taught in high schools, but there is so little CS education currently offered.”

Presumably “eat” and “sleep” are priorities, too, but ya never know with those programmers….

Meeting market needs

As Zach and Jeremy note, computer science education fills an important void in modern secondary school education.  Less than 5% of American high schools offer AP computer sciences courses, despite CS’s rapid growth as a lucrative field in the last few decades.  Indeed, computer science education can guarantee stability and security to high school graduates of the recession era.  While the nation at large is experiencing 8% unemployment, CS-related fields are experiencing even higher growth rates, with 100,000 unfilled CS-related positions this year.  The Wall Street Journal ranked “Software Engineer” as its Best Job of 2012.  ‘Nuff said.

As long as you have access to a computer and the internet, you’re ready to learn.”

The U.S. likewise needs to keep up with international trends in CS education so that American graduates can stay competitive.  Estonia just instituted a program where all first graders learn how to code.   Surely, American teens should have the skill set being mandated for 6 to 7 year olds in other countries.

You know why Mayan civilization failed? No computer science education!!

So, what’s the game plan?

The two are launching a crowd-funding campaign called CSinHS to fund their project with a specific mission to teach 1,000 high school students how to program within the next six months.  Their hard and fast goal is $100,000 by December 21st because the Mayans said so.  The funding will enable them to launch their pilot program for the upcoming semester and pay for tutors to give debugging help and feedback, website and curriculum development costs, and integrating their platform with schools’ needs to make coding a permanent part of the high school curriculum.

It’s an ambitious goal, but if anyone can do it, it’s Jeremy and Zach.  Heck, they convinced me to buy them a Segway.  ;)

The new Stanford font is awful.

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Before and after. Read ‘em and weep. But actually. (Photo credit: Will Tucker ’09)

This week, Stanford changed its online logo.

Two word version of this post:  just no.

Longer version of this post:

The old Stanford font, Sabon, actually looks like something that merits being taken seriously.  Why?  Consider, if you will, the website fonts for Harvard, Princeton, and the University of Chicago.  Eerily similar to Sabon.  Why?  Because these schools are renowned academic institutions that take themselves seriously.

What does the new Stanford font look more like?  Foursquare.  Pinterest.  Twitter.  Words with Friends.

Stanford University is not an app, and should not look like one.

The new Stanford font is inaccurate.

The new Stanford font likewise fails to take Stanford tradition and basic knowledge into account.  Sabon was created by a German typographer, and its Teutonic roots dovetail nicely with Stanford’s distinctly German motto, “die Luft der Freiheit weht” (the wind of freedom blows).  The new font is called “Crimson.”  CRIMSON.  A brief note to Bright, the “design firm” that created our new font, which ostensibly “spent a lot of time” developing it:

OUR COLOR IS CARDINAL.  Crimson is Harvard.  Get.  It.  Together.

Mobile apps, schmobile apps.

The argument for this change is that the new font is viewed better on a mobile interface and that Stanford wanted a thicker font to stand up to the pixelated mobile screen environment.

We already have a very “thick” font that would have been perfect for this application: the block Stanford “S.”  It already exists.  It is beautiful, we love it, and it doesn’t make me cringe.

And while I’m at it, a basic design note.

If you go into the vector drawings for the new logo, the “f” is taller than the “S.”  I….  Whu-?  Why…?  No.

Okay, that’s it.  Rant over.  Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.